It seemed like the perfect way to help those biking along the Rideau Canal in Ottawa cool off on a hot, sunny day, but two little girls were told to pack up their lemonade stand for failing to have a permit.

"I felt sad because I like selling lemonade. It was really fun and there were lots of customers," seven-year-old Eliza Andrews told CBC News. 

Eliza and her five-year-old sister Adela set up a lemonade stand on a grassy median between Echo Drive and Colonel By Drive to raise money to go to summer camp, their father told CBC News.

A stretch of Colonel By Drive is part of the more than 50 kilometres of National Capital Commission parkways that are shut down to traffic on Sundays from May to September in favour of pedestrians, cyclists and rollerbladers.

'Not allowed' there

The girls made $52 — including tips on their $1-a-glass lemonade — in less than two hours.  But around 11 a.m., a woman stopped her bike along the route and told them they were "not allowed" to be there.

lemonade stand NCC Colonel By

Cyclists stop to buy lemonade at a stand on Colonel By Drive that was later shut down by the National Capital Commission for failing to have a permit. (Kurtis Andrews)

Their father Kurtis Andrews was not immediately convinced to leave — until an NCC officer came over to confirm the median was NCC property and that a permit was required for any sales. He said the officer was polite, though a little intimidating in his flak jacket.

"He later sent me a map that appears to show that the property, all of that grassy median, belongs to the NCC and therefore we're not allowed to be there without a permit," he said, adding that he was willing to pay for a permit on the spot but was not given the opportunity.

"I think that they need to relax a bit. I understand that they have to manage their properties but at the same time we're talking about a five and seven-year-old raising money for camp." 

Median 'could be city property': NCC

NCC spokesperson Cédric Pelletier could not confirm Sunday afternoon if the median is NCC property, as it's between NCC-owned Colonel By Drive and city-owned Echo Drive.

"It could be NCC, it could be city property," he said, adding that he was looking into the matter.

Pelletier confirmed that anyone conducting business on NCC lands must "go through our proper internal process" to acquire a permit first.

According to the National Capital Commission Traffic and Property Regulations, "No person shall sell or offer or expose for sale any drink, goods or wares, or post or display any signs, placards, flags or advertising devices, or solicit subscriptions or contributions on or in any property of the commission without first obtaining permission in writing from the commission to do so."

Lesson in business

In addition to raising money for camp, Andrews said the lemonade stand is also a learning experience for his daughters.

"There's lots of lessons to be learned there with multiplication and addition, as well as business. The money that they earn they keep, but they also have to pay for the expenses," he said.

"I can say with some confidence that they got an additional lesson today on business, at least in Ottawa here, and that's a valuable lesson, too."

Eliza said she hasn't given up on her lemonade business but may change her strategy a bit.

"I'm going to keep doing lemonade but maybe at our house," she said.

lemonade National Capital Commission permit Ottawa

Adela Andrews (left) and her sister Eliza (right) were told to stop selling lemonade along Colonel By Drive. (courtesy of Kurtis Andrews)